The trend in the U.S. for young adults grappling with depression and anxiety is most definitely on the uptick, a disheartening sign of the times. In fact, a 2009 study based on commonly used psychological surveys, such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), shows that 85% more college students today report depression and anxiety than did the same age bracket in 1930s.
Young adulthood is supposed to be a time for fulfilling goals and aspirations, falling in love and getting married, even starting a family. During this first leg of adulthood, life should be simpler—before the challenges of life start to add up in later years. But, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, just as many young adults aged 18-29 experience anxiety disorders as adults aged 45-59. The statistics for depression in the young adult demographic of ages 18-25 is even more startling, with rates 30% higher than the 26-49 age group and 100% higher than those aged 50 and older.
Reasons Young Adults Suffer From Anxiety & Depression
There are several possible explanations for the rise in mental health disorders among young adults. A few to be considered include:
- A more materialistic society creates more pressure to “Keep up with the Jones’s” at a time when jobs for this demographic are waning along with wages.
- Social media has created real time platforms where one’s social “brand” or identity is constantly being scrutinized and openly hostile criticism is common.
- Overwhelming pressure to fulfill parental expectations by excelling at a quality university and landing a high-paying, high-profile job soon after graduating.
- The breakdown of the family unit and the scattering of family across different geographical regions create a sense of isolation and insecurity.
- A lack of faith or spirituality contributes to the feelings of helplessness and despair, as well as a lost sense of belonging to a faith community.
- An overemphasis on physical appearance contributes to social anxiety and eating disorders.
Treatment Options for Young Adults with Depression and Anxiety
Clinical treatment for mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety commonly include a combination of medication and psychotherapy. The most common drug classification for treating young adults with depression and anxiety is the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) group of medications, including names like Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, Zoloft, and Paxil.
Therapy sessions that are based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are effective in helping young adults with depression and anxiety identify negative thought patterns and replace them with new, healthy responses. CBT is a short-term therapy that involves the patient’s active participation in establishing new, constructive behavior and thought patterns.
Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness training, and yoga can dramatically help the effects of depression and anxiety. In addition, finding a new hobby can open up avenues of renewed self-worth as they master the new activity. By stoking their interests and passions, young people find new sources of pleasure that may even lead to a new, fulfilling career.
Being of service to others is particularly satisfying. Volunteering to serve less fortunate people with an authentic desire to provide joy to others can buoy the young adult’s spirits and give them a new sense of perspective. Providing service to others helps them get out of their own heads and be entirely in the moment, improving mood and self-esteem. Volunteering also gives a young adult a sense of purpose.
Diet and Exercise:
Countless studies have demonstrated the importance of diet and exercise on mood and quality of life. Teens and young adults notoriously forgo healthy meals in exchange for fast food and junk foods, or consume too many sugar-laden beverages, snacks and treats. By reducing sugar intake and increasing the amount of lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain rice, bread, and pasta, and good ole water in the diet, the young adult will improve brain health. Along with that, a regular exercise regimen—at a gym or outdoor activities—will increase endorphin and serotonin levels in the brain, also improving mood, sleep, and concentration.
Addiction Helplines Can Help Find Mental Health Providers
Finding the right treatment provider for young adults with depression and anxiety can be a daunting task. Addiction Helplines will simplify the selection process for you! Our extensive network of mental health and dual diagnosis treatment providers offers many treatment programs across the U.S. to help you located treatment options for Young Adults with Depression and Anxiety. Allow our Treatment Specialists to connect you with the perfect treatment match for your needs. Call us today for a free confidential assessment and insurance verification at (877) 228-3270.
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